Former U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa) donated almost all of his remaining campaign funds to his alma mater, the University of Alabama, in April.

According to a quarterly filing with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday, Shelby made a $5 million charitable contribution with campaign funds to the university on April 6.

According to a Roll Call article in February, Shelby had the second-most cash-on-hand amongst retired members of Congress at $5.5 million before the donation to the University of Alabama. Shelby retired in January.

Before the donation to his alma mater, Shelby’s largest campaign expense was a $4 million donation in November to Georgetown University. His wife, Annette Shelby, is a retired Georgetown University faculty member.

According to The Hoya, the donation was the largest ever congressional campaign donation directly to a university, according to Andrew Mayersohn, a researcher at OpenSecrets, an independent nonprofit that tracks money in U.S. politics. It’s now the second largest, apparently.

The filing didn’t specify what the $5 million would be used for at the University of Alabama. 

Shelby earmarked $10 million for the University of Alabama (UA) to create a “public service and leadership institute.” The institute was later named after Shelby by the university’s board in February.

The board used $100 million of federal funding earmarked by Shelby in the 2022 omnibus spending package to create an endowment also in Shelby’s name: The Shelby Endowment for Distinguished Faculty.

According to the Federal Election Commission, Shelby currently has $362,250 left in his Senate campaign account. He also has approximately $638,875 left in his Defend America PAC.

Defend America PAC’s most recent filing for June shows a $5,000 donation to U.S. Sen. Katie Britt’s (R-Montgomery) Alabama First PAC on June 22.

Sen. Shelby UA Donation by Caleb Taylor on Scribd

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.